Uncle Dan (my brother) is in town and we are enjoying his company. On Saturday we decided that we were going to go to Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast since there were none near where we used to live in California. I was excited about it and we talked it up to both of the kids. Randy and I went into Ryan’s room on Friday night before he went to bed to tell him the game plan for the next day. I was trying to pump it up and told him a bit about Cracker Barrel (it had been years since he had been) and I was joking saying “It’s a restaurant. It’s a store. It’s a restaurant. It’s a store. It’s a restaurant. It’s a store.” I asked Ryan his thoughts about going and he spelled SO ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS IS INDECISION. Randy and I began cracking up. We asked him if he was trying to be funny. YES TO BEING FUNNY.
Our plan after Cracker Barrel was to go to a store called Cavender’s. According to their website: Since 1965 Cavender’s has been your best source for cowboy boots, cowgirl boots and western wear for men, women and kids. We told Ryan about it and asked him his thoughts about going. He spelled I HAVE TO GET CAPABLE SOUTHERN ATTIRE. Again, we were cracking up. I asked him if he wanted to look like a cowboy. YES TO BEING A COWBOY. Randy wanted to be sure that he wasn’t referring to football YES TO A REAL COWBOY. We went and he was very patient as we walked around the whole store. He picked out a Wrangler button up with SHORT SLEEVES (I guess the 105 degree weather does matter!) After we got home, later I asked him what he thought of Cavender’s. SO NOT SUPER IMPRESSED. Boy, tough critic!
Speaking of Cowboys, a few days earlier, Randy was telling Ryan about how a good friend of his wants to come to our house, but he won’t come if Ryan is wearing any San Francisco 49ers gear as he is a die-hard Dallas Cowboy fan. Ryan’s response: SO EACH DAY I AM STAYING A FORTY-NINERS FAN. I AM LOYAL. Randy was walking away but said to Ryan that that might not go over too well in Cowboy Country and Ryan responded SO NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE HATERS. Randy looked at me and said, “He didn’t spell haters?!” I replied that “He most certainly did!” Randy then retorted that he must have gotten it from me. Ha!
Below are a few more questions from readers that Ryan has answered. On the day that I asked him these, his stomach was bothering him, so he was a bit short with his answers. We all have good and bad days and I still wanted to share his responses (of course!)
Vanessa wrote: I love your blog. I admittedly am not knowledgeable about autism and I am learning so much!! I would like to know what types of pets Ryan would be interested in having? Also I’m curious what his favorite book or author is?
NOT SURE WHAT PETS I WANT. “Have you narrowed it down?” YES TO EITHER A CAT OR A DOG. (On a side note, we put in an application for a service dog for Ryan. He is aware of it and knows that the process can take up to two years.)
I HAVE SO MANY FAVORITES. YES TO READING ABOUT HISTORY AND POLITICS.
We actually finished our first chapter book together on Saturday night. We have started several books including Harry Potter, I Am Malala, Wonder, Ido in Autismland, and a few others, but Ryan seems to either be bothered with the content (some of the books have some rather serious story lines and he has gotten a bit down while I have read them) or has just wanted to start other books. I should note that Ryan does not have the capacity yet to start and read a book on his own. He can read, but there is a lot that goes into reading a book on your own (sitting, flipping the pages, lots of concentration with your eyes, etc.) This makes it difficult for many autistics to independently read books. Again, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that they cannot read (that is entirely not true), it is that they do not have the stamina to read a book on their own. In addition Ryan does not often sit still. He will often move around or be stimming (self stimulatory behavior like playing with beads) and I often follow him from room to room with a book. After we finished our book tonight (which was a book from the series A to Z Mysteries The Quicksand Question), I asked him what he thought of it. YES TO KNOWING I AM CAPABLE OF LISTENING TO AN ENTIRE BOOK. He was so proud of himself. He was smiling as he spelled it and he often does not show much emotion through facial expressions when spelling (unless he is upset). YES TO MAKING IT A HABIT.
Julie wrote: We are moving in a few weeks. Does Ryan having any suggestions for Sophia? (Sophia is Ryan’s age and also has autism.)
SO I WOULD SAY REMEMBER VERY NOT SURE OF WHAT TO EXPECT. UNDERSTAND SOME THINGS WILL BE CHALLENGING. I asked him if he had any more to say. NOT SURE. Was anything that I did helpful? NOT SURE IF ANYTHING YOU DID WAS HELPFUL. Any other last words of wisdom for Julie? SO BE PATIENT WITH YOUR CHILD.
I wanted to close by welcoming our new readers who found our blog as a result of The Mighty post! Thank you for joining us on our journey! Ryan has a lot to say, so stay tuned!